Last post on Nov 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Lexus GS 430, Acura RL, BMW 5 Series, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Infiniti M35, Infiniti M45, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac STS, Sedan
#2957 of 10348 Topic ... again
Jul 07, 2005 (4:40 am)
When someone creates a discussion, he/she pretty much gets to define the topic. So let's revisit the opening post: jrock65, "Luxury Performance Sedans" #1, 6 Apr 2004 12:19 am. "With the upcoming new Acura RL, Audi A6, Infiniti M, Lexus GS, as well as mainstays MB E and BMW 5, this segment seems poised to heat up."
The vehicles under discussion here are the ones listed in the header. I wish I could use "Infiniti M" and "Lexus GS", but I can't, so those two by themselves could take up 4 of the 6 spaces if I used all four. Based on how the conversation has flowed, I've been using 3 spaces for them and swapping in and out as it seemed appropriate. (We dropped the E-Class fairly quickly, as I recall, because no one was talking about it.)
Once again, anyone who wants a different comparo should go here and fire it up. If there is enough interest, it will fly, if not, well at least you tried.
Sorry to be hard-nosed about this, but this discussion is associated with articles and detail pages all over edmunds.com based on the categories. I need to see that the conversation sticks reasonably to those vehicles.
I would appreciate your cooperation - further comments on this may be directed to me via email, but we've got to get back on topic here.
#2961 of 10348 AWD's - Which is Superior?
Jul 07, 2005 (7:32 am)
Someone pointed out to me that Audi has the only true (Quattro) AWD system in the group. Lexus, Infiniti and others have electronic AWD, which may be inferior. What does this mean in real-world conditions? I have a extreme need for AWD with a long, steep driveway and steep, hilly roads in the frozen northeast. Hard to think of that in 89 degree July, but it the main clincher for me. I have been leaning M35x, but may switch back to A6 if it is true.
#2963 of 10348 Re: AWD's - Which is Superior? [armen6]
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Jul 07, 2005 (7:38 am)
In 99% of "real world" conditions, it means nothing.. All of the AWD systems are electronic and mechanical... There are differences, but not to the degree that you would think..
Even Audi uses two different systems.. but, calls them both Quattro..
#2965 of 10348 Re: AWD's - Which is Superior? [kyfdx]
Jul 07, 2005 (10:57 am)
I would like to underscore this statement and make a slight emphasis change:
"In 99% of "real world" conditions, it means nothing." Original.
"In 99.9% of "real world" conditions, it means very little." Modified.
The rear-biased AWD supporters may not like this, but -- even Acura's and Volvo's AWD cars (that are up to 95% FWD normally) -- can pretty much shift power as needed to where its needed virtually instantly.
Audi's quattro system is called TORque SENsing (TORSEN) and is therefore almost a completely mechanical system. Quattro HAS BEEN and mostly remains 50-50 F/R split (but will shift power to where it is needed, just like the other systems.) But even Audi has caved in to the RWD bias "encouragement" and is (or soon will) be offering the RS 4 with a 40-60 F/R AWD bias. One can only assume that the other Audis will shortly ( a year or three ) fall in line and be the same.
These systems -- sometimes called "X" or sometimes designated with an "X" (as in 530xi, M35x, etc.) -- in passenger cars driven the way most mere mortals drive all provide superior traction. Some (basically all) provide extra benefits on any surface -- performance CAN be enhanced with AWD.
Weight increases attributable to AWD are usually at least 150 pounds, often more. The argument can be made that the weight penalty offsets the performance gains. While perhaps technically true, for most of us, most of the time, the advantages of AWD (not part time four wheel drive) outweigh any issues that may come with the territory.
Of greater importance, IMHO, is the F/R WEIGHT balance, the suspension geometry, the tire wheel choices made by the mfg and other engineering "areas of opportunity." Audis, the thing I think I know the best, are almost all (every one of them) "nose heavy." Yet, using ONLY that criteria, Audis handle way better than they "have a right to." The reasons for this apparent discrepancy include suspension design, the choice of tires and wheels, damping (think shocks) and AWD.
The new BMW 330, is a great car, and without the "x" designation is RWD. BMW's are generally thought of to be very well balanced and often nearly 50-50 weight distribution. Yet, in the newest of the new 330's, the editors of Automobile magazine indicated they felt the car was very willing to understeer and not as easy to "tail drive" or drive by throttle as a Cadillac CTS for instance. The Cadillac, as I recall is not as well balanced as the BMW, but there you have the editors claiming this new BMW tends to understeer.
Understeer (in a vacuum) is often caused by a car's weight balance being biased so that it is mostly on the front wheels. Clearly the BMW is not what one would call nose heavy.
Typical answer -- you asked what time it is and I somehow go down the path that includes watch building.
AWD in this class of cars is 99.9% of the time superior to other ways to put power to the pavement. More and more, the AWD systems are drifting toward being rear biased. Frankly, I think this is to just shut the journalists up in large measure.
Audi has 25 years experience with AWD -- they squandered that advantage as far as I am concerned by having quattro be an unintentionally kept secret. Now all the LPS crowd offers competent AWD. Audi probably does know more about building AWD cars than Infiniti or BMW or Lexus -- but since we live and drive in the "real world" you should get the car you want (with AWD) and not be much concerned with "how" they did their version of it.
It's all good!